Orchestranimals

Vlasta Van Kampen, Author Scholastic $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-590-43149-1
It's just a few minutes before showtime and the nattily dressed penguin conductor frets over the empty seats before him. One by one the animal orchestra members appear with silly excuses and informative remarks about their instruments. The predominant theme of the story is that Crash the monkey is missing. Predictably he surfaces toward the very end of the book, clangs his cymbals together and is the hit of the show. The thin plot line leading to the practically nonexistent show is drawn out to 41 pages, presumably to accommodate a full range of instruments. In addition to the distraction of complicated musical notations that embellish occasional pages, the instruments have a photographic quality that is incongruous with the rest of the illustrations. The subject matter would imply that a good time was had by all, but real fun is noticeably absent. In trying too hard to instruct, the book misses an opportunity to entertain. Ages 5-8. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990
Release date: 02/01/1990
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